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Health Blog :: Limit food if you're on Dialysis or late stage Kidney Disease

November 01, 2017

When you are on dialysis your diet is restricted, as certain foods have substances that your kidneys used to get rid of and now dialysis has to do that. Foods that you eat get metabolized in your body and waste products are generated that are removed from the body either through the GI tract or through the kidneys. When the kidneys fail, they cannot clean these wastes and they tend to build up in the body and make you feel ill. Dialysis can help clean your blood from these toxins when the kidneys are not working adequately. Healthy kidneys filter the blood all the time and clear the blood by producing urine, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That’s a lot of work and cleaning that the kidneys do. Dialysis treatments can only partially replace this same workload. If you don’t watch your diet, excess waste products can build up in your blood between dialysis treatments and result in unneeded side effects and make you sick.

Here are some substances to limit if you’re on dialysis:

Salt and Sodium

Some meats including Pork, Ham, Bacon, Sausage, Bologna, lunch meats and canned meats are high is salt and sodium. A lot of canned foods are full of sodium. Fast foods are loaded with them. Try preparing your food fresh and read the sodium content on the labels of items you purchase. Your daily allowance may be between less than 2000 mg or up to 4000 mg of sodium per day. The more salt ones eats, the more fluid one retains which makes the heart to work harder and makes the job of dialysis more difficult to remove it.


In general yellow fruits, potatoes and tomatoes are high in potassium. Your daily allowance may be between less than 2000 mg. Norma American diet has between 3200-4700mg of potassium. Bananas are very high in potassium, about 75 mg per inch.

Patients on Peritoneal dialysis at home may require extra potassium to keep up with daily losses in dialysis and their diet is more liberal. One baked potato has about 900mg of potassium with the skin and 600mg without the skin. Peeling and cutting potato in small pieces and then soaking it for several hours, reduces the potassium to half the amount mentioned above and is one way of introducing potato in your diet. Chocolate, collard greens and watermelon are other sources of fair amount of potassium and should be limited.

Phosphate additives?
Phosphate additives are often used as food preservative in United States. As phosphorus is in many foods that we eat and phosphorus has a large storage space in the body and it is hard to remove substantial amounts of it with three to four hours of dialysis, many patients are on Phosphate binders. These binders take the phosphorus in the food and prevent its absorption. Phosphorus intake should be limited to less than 1000 mg in a dialysis patient. Foods such as dark colas, fast foods, deli meats, and baked goods contain phosphate additives. Look on the nutrition label carefully for anything that has "phos" in the ingredient list. Nuts and nut butters are not only high in phosphorus, but also are high in potassium. 100 gram of Peanuts has 300-500mg of phosphorus. One tablespoon of peanut butter contains 119mg of potassium and 55mg of phosphorus.?A 3.5 ounce serving of dark chocolate has over 300mg of phosphorus. Dairy products are also high in phosphorus. One cup of Mac and cheese has 400mg of phosphorus.

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